A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 03, 2012
“Life is just a bowl of cherries”

The expression “a bowl of cherries” means something wonderful and delicious. The song “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries” (1931) popularized the term. American humorist Erma Bombeck (1927-1996) used the expression in the title of her book, If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits? (1978).

“Bowl of cherries” existed as a Broadway expression before the 1931 song. “That, of course, in Broadway patter, is a bowl of cherries.” was cited in 1928. The expression “life is not a bowl of cherries” (that is, life is not so wonderful) has been cited in print since at least 1931.


The Free Dictionary
Life is just a bowl of cherries.
something that you say which means that life is very pleasant
Usage notes: This phrase is sometimes used humorously to mean the opposite

Wikipedia: Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries
“Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries” is a popular song with music by Ray Henderson and lyrics by Buddy G. DeSylva and Lew Brown, published in 1931.

It was Ethel Merman who introduced this song in George White’s Scandals of 1931. A Rudy Vallee version, recorded in 1931, spent five weeks in the top 10 pop music charts. The song was revived in 1953 by singer Jaye P. Morgan.

Google Books
The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs
Edited by Charles Clay Doyle, Wolfgang Mieder and Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
2012
pg. ?:
Life is not a bowl of cherries.
1931 New York Times 13 Nov.: “But the score was 7–6 in favor of Georgia, leading N.Y.U. rooters to the conclusion that there is no justice, life is not a bowl of cherries and Russia may have the right idea after all.
1932 Ad for subscription Life Magazine 99 (Apr.) 62: “Contrary to the popular phrase,life is NOT a bowl of cherries—and LIFE treats life with respect but always with a smile (that is, Life the magazine treats the phenomenon life with respect and a smile, capitalization as shown)

28 February 1928, San Diego (CA) Union, “New York Day by Day” by O.O. McIntyre, pg. 24, col. 4:
A banker from Montreal in the smoking room today insisted I should not call him Mister. That, of course, in Broadway patter, is a bowl of cherries.

18 May 1928, The Plain Dealer and Daily Leader (Cleveland, OH), “Sidelights of New York” by Grant Dixon, pg. 20, col. 5:
“And why not?” asked the star manicurist of one of the big uptown hotels the other day. ‘The life of a manicurist on one of the big liners is a bowl of cherries, my boy, just a bowl of cherries with whipped cream on the side.”

30 October 1930, Seattle (WA) Daily Times, “Amusements,” pg. 21, col. 1:
Miss Moran plays the spoiled little English girl, while others in the cast include that favorite character woman, Mrs. Patrick Campbell, who has a lovely bit of comedy about “a bowl of cherries”; ...
(The Dancers—ed.)

10 January 1931, Morning Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), “New York Day by Day” by O. O. McIntyre, pg. 4, col. 8:
“That’s a bowl of cherries,"she cracked.

OCLC WorldCat record
Life is just a bowl of cherries
Author: Lew Brown; Ray Henderson
Publisher: New York : De Sylva, Brown and Henderson, ©1931.
Edition/Format: Musical score : Musical revues & comedies : English : Eleventh ed

OCLC WorldCat record
If life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?
Author: Erma Bombeck
Publisher: New York : McGraw-Hill, ©1978.
Edition/Format: Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Humorous commentaries on American life in the 70’s.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Wednesday, October 03, 2012 • Permalink